Sermon 2

Spiritual Health

Going to the doctor for a checkup is something many people do regularly. They want to make sure their health is not failing in ways they can’t detect on their own. Likewise, we are prone to miss signs of poor spiritual health if we don’t check up on it regularly.

In Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus, he uses a word that helps evaluate spiritual health. The word is “sound.” When the Bible speaks of sound doctrine, sound faith, and sound speech, it is talking about healthy doctrine, healthy faith, and healthy speech.

How do we maintain good spiritual health? How do we know we are spiritually well? This is a very important question on several levels. One of current importance is, “There are so many different claims of spirituality in today’s society; how do I know if I’m truly spiritual?”


In 1 John 4:1, we read that the first test of good spiritual health is our relationship to “sound doctrine.” This is the foundation. If our spiritual health is going to be good, it has to be based on the right information.

Consider what the Bible says about sound or healthy doctrine (read Titus 2:1; 2 Tim. 1:13 and Titus 1:9). Sound doctrine, then, has an encouraging and uplifting effect. One of the reasons we read, study, hear, teach, and preach from the Word of God is because it is very encouraging! Sound doctrine is healthy and encourages us because it is true and trustworthy!

Sometimes our spiritual health grows weak because we are pulled down by the discouraging things around us. But our hope can grow when fed a constant diet of sound doctrine.

On the other hand, false doctrine leads to a spiritually unhealthy lifestyle (1 Tim. 1:8).

Why are some people spiritually unhealthy? The doctrine they have been following is not sound. We cannot maintain good spiritual health if we are following false teaching. The Word of God issues some of its sharpest warnings in this area (2 Tim. 4:3).

We can digest false teaching because it’s what we want to hear at the moment, but our spiritual health will inevitably suffer. We will find ourselves more easily discouraged, more likely to sin, and more easily led astray by even more serious false teaching.


The second diagnostic test for spiritual health follows logically. The Bible talks about “sound faith” (read Titus 1:10-13). Do you see the connection? If we listen to and follow doctrine that is unsound, then our faith won’t be sound. Only sound doctrine produces sound faith. Sound spiritual health is predicated on sound spiritual intake. 

Look at some of the Bible’s definitions of a life of sound faith (read Titus 2:1- 8).

Verse 1: “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”

Verse 2: “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance.”

Verse 3: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.”

Verse 4: “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children . . .”

Verse 5: “. . . to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God.”

Verse 6: “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.”

These verses suggest that our spiritual health is based on sound doctrine, which is evidenced by sound faith, which determines how we live.

“How can I tell if my spiritual health is good?” How “good” am I living?


Thirdly, the state of our spiritual health can be diagnosed by the soundness of our speech. Let’s go just a little further with Titus 2. Read verse 6 again: “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.”

Verses 7-8: “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In showing your integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”

As a young man himself, Titus set an example with his own life for the young men in his congregation. As a pastor, he was to be sound in speech, but this was also part of what he was to teach the members of his congregation.

How can you tell if your spiritual health is good? How are you talking? Is your speech sound? Is it uplifting and positive? “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29).

Negative talk denotes a spiritual health that is not good. Gossiping; backbiting; harsh, unwholesome, negative words—they don’t build anyone up, so we shouldn’t use them. They are indicators of poor spiritual health.

No wonder God’s Word admonishes us, “My dear brother, take note of this, everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:29).

So how do you know if your spiritual health is good?

• Sound doctrine: do you listen to it and follow it?
• Sound faith: is your life producing the right kind of works?
• Sound speech: are you talking correctly?

How will you respond if the Holy Spirit convinces you that you have room for improvement in these areas?

General Conference Ministerial Association